Comparison of StartOS vs Others


I’m completely new to self-hosting, so I’m trying to get better educated on it. I have come across other OSs (PaaSs?) that seem similar to StartOS (from my very limited perspective), in that they are preconfigured “plug-n-play” solutions to get you up and running quickly with self-hosting and come with “app stores”. Below are just a few of the ones I’ve stumbled upon. Just trying to understand how they differ.

  • Yunohost
  • HomelabOS
  • CasaOS
  • Umbrel
  • UBOS


Hi @mc-lemons,

Thank you for commenting about this topic! I’ll start off by pointing out our Umbrel Comparison documentation article. On that page you will find a comparison of many different Start9 and Umbrel qualities, such as Appearance, Architecture, Backups, Encryption, and Services.

Beyond that, while we haven’t published official documentation for the other services that you listed (CasaOS, HomelabOS, UBOS, and Yunohost), we are pretty familiar with all of these solutions and would be happy to shed light on any particular qualities (such as license, base OS, supported architecture, pricing, etc.) that are of greatest interest based on what you would like to accomplish.

Finally, I would add in contrast to these technologies, we see ourselves as the only ones who started with the goal of building a general purpose OS for hosting server-side software.

Hope this helps and let us know what you think!


I just want to add on to Jeremy’s excellent response. These are all great tools, and several of them offer features that are not yet available on StartOS. The biggest difference that I like to highlight is the foundation that we’re building, which will not only allow the missing feature-set in the near future, but also allow us to empower users with the highest degree of sovereignty over their data possible, in an accessible way. It has been possible for decades to stitch together a sovereign server/network, but we strive to make it available to anyone that desires it, regardless of skill-level. There are always trade-offs, but we strive to make all the options available, alongside education, guides, and high-availability support.

I think we definitely need to build a nice comparison chart that explains the entire ecosystem - so this is some extra motivation to accomplish that. Thank you for your post.


Thanks guys, I really appreciate the responses! A comparison chart would be great. I discovered you guys in my search to run my own Bitcoin node. I also came across the idea of “de-Googling” about a year or so ago, but it seemed fairly impractical as I had no idea about the self-hosting options. And with all the exposure to Big Tech’s overreach in recent years, privacy has become increasingly important to me. So when I came across Start9, with self-sovereignty and Bitcoin all under one roof, it felt like the perfect solution for me. That being said, committing your digital life to an ecosystem is not something to be taken lightly. Sort of like how once most people go Apple, and spread their digital life across the whole Apple ecosystem, they are most likely to never change. Android is similar (what I currently use), but not as fully integrated as Apple. So I guess some of the questions I’m trying to answer are:

  1. Is Start9 the best option out there today?
  2. Will Start9 be the best option long-term?
  3. Will it last or collapse like many open-source projects?
  4. Is Start9 just the CCP in disguise??
  5. Is Satoshi behind all of this???

Cheers everyone!


I appreciate your enthusiasm, welcome to the movement! To your questions:

  1. “Best” is going to be subjective to you - it will depend on your specific needs.
  2. I personally believe so, but only time will tell.
  3. Again, we cannot predict the future, but we are planning for the long-term. We already have a popular following, our hardware sales are rising, we have dedicated investment, and we have several models that we will be slowly rolling out in order to continue to pay the bills and have a strong dev team.
  4. Definitely. Once everyone is Sovereign, we will initiate Global Communism Mode and everyone will love it. Best feature ever.
  5. I can neither confirm nor deny.

The Umbrel comparison link that you provided doesn’t seem to work. Does this page still exist?

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It’s been deprecated in light of a more up to date response available on the Start9 FAQ page (under “How does StartOS compare to ‘X’?”) Hope that helps!

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#4 Great answer…lol!

This website lists this arena of OS’s as well:

(Apparently “Start” used to be “Embassy”?)

I really don’t want to read through all of that, talking about programs and features that I don’t even know what they are in the first place, in order to try to compare them (“apples to oranges” too) in my head somehow. Thus, a single comparison table sure would be helpful!

There are also a number of comparison posts on [the cesspool of] Reddit, whene searching with the terms “start9” and “startOS”

Does this community have any real intentional presence on there?

The most active StartOS community is currently on Telegram. There is a Start9 tech available at least 12 hours a day and the community is also very helpful. Telegram: Contact @start9_labs

That’s good info. Thx
Are you saying that there are comparisons already embedded somewhere in the one… hundred… thousand messages there?

No I realize it doesn’t provide the concise table comparison you are searching for, just pointing out that compared to reddit telegram is where the activity is. For me the key distinguishing features of StartOS is that it is an actual Linux Distro transparent operating system, great customer support, the ability to package new services on your own, and does not lack any features of its major competitors (with perhaps the exception of better clearnet support). But more clearnet compatibility is a top priority of the next major releases. I personally left umbrel and went fully with Start9 (but I am biased now after joining the support team :slight_smile:

Real and intentional, yes, active, no. Please help seed the subreddit if this is your thing - nobody has shown any interest yet:

I’m done with Reddit personally after their recent changes, including over-aggressive blocking of anyone using a VPN.

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Personally I use Mullvad, and have little trouble accessing Reddit. Occasionally an IP is flagged somewhere, and I’m denied. But I just change Mullvad to a different city, and it’s good on Reddit again.

Now Reddit changing other things in order to sell everyone’s data… that’s a different story. Another honeypot, as usual.

If only there were companies actually working on Sovereign Computing and privacy… grin

If only… hopefully someone will package Lemmy soon